An Analysis of Elementary Science Teachers’ Beliefs Regarding Inquiry Science Teaching

Eric A. Worch, Emilio Duran, Lena B. Duran


The National Science Teachers Association (2015) recommends that teachers experience science as inquiry as a part of their teacher preparation; however, what assistance can be provided to practicing teachers? This paper describes the results of a professional development program in inquiry science teaching for third through sixth grade teachers and its effects on the participants’ beliefs about the teaching of science. Qualitative data were collected using reflections written by the teachers at the end of the program, lesson summaries completed throughout the program, and observations paired with interviews of teachers implementing inquiry lessons in their own classrooms. The data suggest that the following aspects of the professional development model employed in the study enhanced the participants’ feelings of self- confidence, preparation, and excitement about teaching science to their students: 1) supplying teachers with content/background knowledge, 2) promoting positive experiences with inquiry, 3) providing a chance to implement inquiry lessons in the classroom, 4) facilitating collaboration, and 5) modeling effective teaching strategies. Follow-up studies will include quantitative analyses to further examine teachers’ beliefs, as well as to determine if their beliefs are sustained over time.

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